Biden Signs 42 Executive Orders To Lead US Forward Amid Crisis

Biden Signs 42 Executive Orders To Lead US Forward

In his efforts to undo the many actions former President Trump had taken, President Joe Biden hasn’t wasted any time setting his agenda into motion through a flurry of executive actions that address everything from Covid-19 to the climate crisis. 

While his administration continues the plodding work of coordinating with Congress on more ambitious policy goals, Biden has inked 42 executive actions thus far. See them all here organized by topic.

Health care

‘Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.’ Reopens enrollment on from February 15 through May 15, and directs federal agencies to reexamine policies that may reduce or undermine access to the Affordable Care Act.

‘Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad.’ Rescinds the “Mexico City Policy,” a ban on US government funding for foreign nonprofits that perform or promote abortions.

The memorandum also directs the US Health and Human Services Department to immediately move to consider rescinding the Trump administration rule blocking health care providers in the federally funded Title X family planning program from referring patients for abortions, according to the Biden administration.


‘Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.’ Seeks to cement the climate crisis at the center of US foreign policy and national security. Most notably, it directs the secretary of the interior to pause on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters.

The order also:

Instructs Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to prepare a national intelligence estimate on the security implications of the climate crisis and directs all agencies to develop strategies for integrating climate considerations into their international work.

Establishes the National Climate Task Force, assembling leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments.

Commits to environmental justice and new, clean infrastructure projects.

Kicks off development of emissions reduction target.

Establishes the special presidential envoy for climate on the National Security Council.

‘Executive Order on Establishing President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.’ Reestablishes the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Moving forward, the council will advise Biden on policy that affects science, technology and innovation.

‘Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking.’ Charges the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy with responsibility for ensuring scientific integrity across federal agencies.

Agencies that oversee, direct or fund research are tasked with designating senior agency employees as chief science officers to ensure agency research programs are scientifically and technologically well founded.

‘Paris Climate Agreement.’ Rejoins the Paris climate accord, the landmark international agreement signed in 2015 to limit global warming.

‘Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.’ Cancels the Keystone XL pipeline and directs agencies to review and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment.


‘Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” Rescinds the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, and directs agencies to review their actions to ensure racial equity.

‘Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.’ Prevents workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

‘Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.’ Acknowledges the rise in discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the past year, directing HHS to consider issuing guidance on best practices to improve “cultural competency, language access and sensitivity toward AAPIs” in the federal government’s Covid-19 response.

The memorandum also directs the Department of Justice to partner with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to prevent hate crimes and harassment.

‘Executive Order on Reforming Our Incarceration System to Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities.’ Directs the attorney general not to renew federal contracts with private prisons.

‘Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies.’ Directs the Department of Housing and Urban Development to review the Trump administration’s regulatory actions for their effects on fair housing and to then “take steps necessary” to comply with the Fair Housing Act.

‘Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships.’ Recommits federal agencies to “engage in regular, robust and meaningful consultation with Tribal governments.”

‘Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform.’ Reverses the Trump administration’s ban on transgender Americans joining the military.


‘Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers.’ Strengthens Buy American rules by closing loopholes and reducing waivers granted on federal purchases of domestic goods.

‘Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce.’ Restores collective bargaining power and worker protections for federal workers, and lays the foundation for a $15 minimum wage.

‘Executive Order on Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ Calls for assistance to those who are struggling to buy food, missed out on stimulus checks or are unemployed.

‘Pausing Federal Student Loan Payments.’ Extends the existing pause on student loan payments and interest for Americans with federal student loans until at least September 30.

‘Extend Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums.’ Extends the existing nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until at least March 31.


‘Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease.’ Reinstates Covid-19 travel restrictions for individuals traveling to the United States from Brazil, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa.

‘Memorandum to Extend Federal Support to Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States.’ Directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency to expand reimbursement to states to fully cover the cost for National Guard personnel and emergency supplies.

‘Executive Order on a Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain.’ Accelerates manufacturing and delivery of supplies for vaccination, testing and personal protective equipment.

‘Executive Order on Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board and Ensuring a Sustainable Public Health Workforce for COVID-19 and Other Biological Threats.’ Establishes the Pandemic Testing Board to expand US coronavirus testing capacity.

‘Executive Order on Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatments for COVID-19.’ Establishes a preclinical program to boost development of therapeutics in response.

‘Executive Order on Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future High-Consequence Public Health Threats.’ Enhances the nation’s collection, production, sharing and analysis of coronavirus data.

‘Create more vaccination sites.’ Directs FEMA to create federally supported community vaccination centers.

‘Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers.’ Directs the Department of Education and HHS to provide guidance for safely reopening and operating schools, child care providers and institutions of higher education.

‘Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety.’ Calls on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to release clear guidance on Covid-19 and to decide whether to establish emergency temporary standards, and directs OSHA to enforce worker health and safety requirements.

‘Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.’ Requires mask-wearing in airports and on certain modes of transportation, including many trains, airplanes, maritime vessels and intercity buses. International travelers must provide proof of negative Covid-19 tests prior to coming to the US.

‘Executive Order on Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery.’ Creates the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to help ensure an equitable pandemic response and recovery.

‘National Security Directive on United States Global Leadership to Strengthen the International COVID-19 Response and to Advance Global Health Security and Biological Preparedness.’ A presidential directive to restore America’s leadership, support the international pandemic response effort, promote resilience for future threats and advance global health security and the Global Health Security Agenda.

‘Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing.’ Launches a “100 Days Masking Challenge” asking Americans to wear masks for 100 days. Requires masks and physical distancing in federal buildings, on federal lands and by government contractors, and urges states and local governments to do the same.

‘Letter to His Excellency António Guterres.’ Stops the United States’ withdrawal from the World Health Organization, with Dr. Anthony Fauci becoming the head of the delegation to the WHO.

‘Executive Order on Organizing and Mobilizing the United States Government to Provide a Unified and Effective Response to Combat COVID-19 and to Provide United States Leadership on Global Health and Security.’ Creates the position of Covid-19 response coordinator, reporting directly to Biden and managing efforts to produce and distribute vaccines and medical equipment.


‘Executive Order on Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census.’ Requires noncitizens to be included in the census and apportionment of congressional representatives.


‘Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.’ Strengthens DACA after Trump’s efforts to undo protections for undocumented people brought into the country as children.

‘Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States.’ Reverses the Trump administration’s restrictions on US entry for passport holders from seven Muslim-majority countries.

‘Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities.’ Undoes Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement.

‘Proclamation on the Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Southern Border of the United States and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction.’ Halts construction of the border wall by terminating the national emergency declaration used to fund it.

‘Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians.’ Extends deferrals of deportation and work authorizations for Liberians with a haven in the United States until June 30, 2022.


‘Executive Order on Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel.’ Requires executive branch appointees to sign an ethics pledge barring them from acting in personal interest and requiring them to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice.


‘Modernizing Regulatory Review.’ Directs the White House Office of Management and Budget director to develop recommendations to modernize regulatory review and undoes Trump’s regulatory approval process.

(Courtesy: CNN’s Kate Sullivan, Christopher Hickey, Curt Merrill, Janie Boschma and Sean O’Key contributed to this report. Picture: ABC.COM)

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